Today’s guest is Vincent Pugliese, the owner and founder of Total Life Freedom, an exclusive and intimate mastermind group of generous entrepreneurs and freelancers who are building and helping others create a life of money, time and location freedom.
Vincent also wrote a book on this idea of money, time and location freedom called “Freelance to Freedom.” He is generously giving you all a free audio version of the book, so scroll down for a link to that book.
Vincent was a professional photographer for 22 years, as a freelancer, a newspaper employee and then as a business owner with his wife, Elizabeth. Vincent is also the host the Total Life Freedom podcast. Vincent and his wife—who is also a photographer—now live in Pittsburgh with their their sons.
Hear why Vincent was angry after winning a prestigious national sports photography award and what he did next.
When he called his dad, his father told him, “I’ve been trying to tell you … You have a skill but you’re not using it correctly. You’ve settled for $32,000 a year and benefits. … You’re settling for security.”
That day, Vincent called his pregnant wife and said, “We’re starting our own business.”
People would often call the newspaper where Vincent and his wife were both photographers—in Evansville, Indiana—and ask if anyone there shot weddings. But the journalists always said no. Vincent now told his co-workers to send all those calls to him. He also began to read business books in between his photography assignments.
Before they had shot a single wedding, the couple told people they shot weddings. Immediately after they booked their first gig, Vincent’s wife built their website. “It’s funny how things start working out when you put yourself out there,” Vincent says.
The couple built their wedding photography business in the Evansville area from there, all from building a network and getting word-of-mouth referrals.
They made a classic freelance newbie mistake of taking on a lot of different projects, not just weddings. But then they read about the 80/20 rule: 20% of what you do leads to 80% of your success. They realized they needed to cut out the smaller shoots that didn’t pay as well and that they didn’t love to focus all their attention on what they loved, were great at and paid well: weddings.
Vincent and his wife focused on building their business not to become rich with money, but to become “time rich,” so that they could spend time together with their three sons.
When people asked for photography that Vincent and his wife didn’t do, like portrait photography, instead of saying no, they would find a photographer to recommend instead. That built their network with other photographers and clients because people on both ends appreciated it.
After about 10 years in wedding photography, Vincent got bored and wanted to try something new. He wasn’t feeling challenged anymore.
He had already been coaching photographers on how to run a business, an area they struggled in. He began to expand the coaching business and wrote a book called “Freelance to Freedom.”
People who do want time freedom often get stuck on the money—they don’t know how to start something new or cut back because they’ve gotten to a place where they need the current amount of money they’re making. “They trap themselves,” Vincent says.
“When you realize you don’t need that much to get by to do what you really love to do … Our biggest advantage is we don’t need that much and I don’t care what you think. And when I think that way it allows me to do whatever I want to do. And doing what I want to do led to the time freedom.”
Vincent argues that when you can free up some time to lessen your stress and take a break, that’s when you’ll come up with smart ideas. “When you can take a three-hour walk, you’ll come up with ideas you’ll never think of when you’re stressed out,” he says.
“The time freedom led to mental freedom, and the mental freedom led to the ideas, and the ideas led to the money. It wasn’t about going for the money.”
The time freedom has allowed Vincent’s family to travel for months at a time—they home school their kids.
But too many people are afraid of making huge changes. Vincent talks about how employees are scared to change and make mistakes because they’re used to following the rules and we are not rewarded for making mistakes. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are given credit for making mistakes. So, it’s helpful for new business owners to think of themselves as entrepreneurs.
Vincent has created a mastermind group that is for entrepreneurs who want a life of time, money and location freedom. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s for the people who want to take action.
You can build your network through being generous, by helping others and not focusing on what you’ll get in return. This is possible for introverts too, who often don’t like promoting themselves.
Biz Bite: Be curious. Don’t act like you have the answer—dive into new things.
Get a free copy of Vincent’s book, “Freelance to Freedom”
Vincent’s website, Total Life Freedom
Connect with Vincent on LinkedIn
Connect with Vincent on Facebook